Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags
There have been a lot of questions about the difference between loose leaf tea and your everyday big box packages of bagged teas, specifically relating to quality. As a company specializing in loose leaf tea (I mean, our name is “The Loose Leaf” after all…) we decided to kick off our blog series addressing the “why” in our love of loose leaf tea.
Lets start with the basics. All you REALLY need to do is smell and taste for yourself and you will find a dramatic difference! I grew up drinking bagged tea since I was a child. My mom is STILL a bagged tea drinker 🙄 (don’t get me started). I remember after I had been working with herbs for some time, and only drinking loose leaf tea, I was given a peppermint teabag. I thought, “hmm, haven’t done this in a while, let’s see how this compares.”
First off was the smell. I could barely smell mint, let alone the menthol aroma of delicious peppermint. The cut of the mint was so fine, it was mostly a dusting. I checked the expiration date and it still had another 2 years to go! I let it steep for at least 4 minutes, took a sip and couldn’t fathom How anyone could drink it.
Being an Herbalist I had a major issue with this. This beautiful, fragrant, highly medicinal herb tasted like dirt. I want to be specific when I say dirt, I mean actual dirt. Like I had been out in the garden and took some old, stale soil and put it in some hot water.
I then had another thought: people think this is what peppermint tastes like.. people drink this and like it? I was bummed.
Here’s the thing: herbs and teas contain oils, essential oils. Those oils are what give the tea it’s flavor, aroma and most importantly, the health benefits. That bagged tea I just had, did not have any health benefits left. If you can’t smell it or taste it, it’s not there.
Another thing to consider is tea that is wrapped in a paper box with paper wrapping will absorb all of those oils that make the tea healthy and tasty. When steeping whole leaf tea in an infuser or directly in water, you are allowing the water to flow through the tea, doing its job of extracting all the vitamins, minerals and flavors or the tea.
The next issue with teabags is what is actually surrounding that dusty tea. Basic tea bags contain a chemical compound called epichlorohydrin, which is used in the production of epoxy resins.. mmmm, I’m getting thirsty just thinking about that.
There are also those fancy nylon tea bags that are made up of all kinds of plastics- viscose rayon, PVC, thermoplastic and polypropylene.. sound tasty?!
So, why loose leaf tea? Put simply, its just better. Better tasting. Better for you. Better for the environment.
- Meghan, Founder & Owner